Last year was an interesting year for Hip-Hop and R & B. Besides Eminem there weren’t too many highlights in the sales department. Lil’ Wayne did find success with two different projects and Kanye West had a pretty good showing but it seems as though 250K is the new gold, and 500K is the new platinum, because these days achieving either one of those numbers is a challenge. Now that 2011 is here we all hope that sales will increase and the quality of music will get better. Here are some of the acts who can lead the turn around in Hip-Hop and R & B this year. I will say upfront that Dr. Dre’s Detox will not appear on this list, he’s been featured the last 2 years and at this point I don’t believe its dropping any time soon. Many of the albums on this list may never see the light of the day, but here’s hoping they do.
Too early to tell:
Willow Smith – Ms. “Whip My Hair” should have an album in the works, but I for one thinks she should wait.
Jay Electronica – Roc Nation’s last signee of the year may release his highly anticipated album, but I figure there is a long line considering Jay-Z, Kanye, J.Cole, and Wale all expect release dates this year as well.
T.I. – He’s quickly losing his buzz and his throne, he needs to stay out of jail to get another album and with T.I., you just never know.
Nas – The Lost Tapes Vol. 2
We heard good thing about the Damian Marley collaboration album, but like most people we didn’t bother to go to the stores for it. The Lost Tapes is Nas’ version of The Blueprint so if it comes out we expect great things. Now we wait for Def Jam to let him release it.
Marsha Ambrosius – Late Nights, Early Mornings
The songstress, Marsha Ambrosius is expected to release her debut solo album this year, her first since the end of Floetry. The lead single, “Hope She Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player)” was one of the top releases last year and if the album is anything like the single or any of the other music she’s leaked or been featured in, we’re in store for a a great soulful offering.
50 Cent – To Be Decided (TBD)
At this point you begin to wonder if this one-trick pony has any tricks left and for that alone people are looking forward to the fifth album from 50. G-Unit is pretty much none existent at this point and 50 ended the year off tying himself to a couple of R & B artists in Jeremih and Lloyd plus magazine covers with Soulja Boy. You have to figure the movie money is just too good to care about the music anymore. Guess we’ll see.
J. Cole -TBD
Roc Nation’s first artist has been working towards a release for the past four years since the first mixtape, The Come Up. Over the year he’s already released enough content to release a classic lp, so hopefully he’s saved his best for the debut. He has a March release date that I don’t really believe right now, but maybe, just maybe he can be this year’s B.o.B.
Akon – Akonic
Am I the only one who realizes Akon is killing the game–and I’m not talking Soulja Boy killing either. Akon released so many hits in 2011 that went unnoticed because he was the featured artist, but just continues to get better as an artist and as a business man. First is was T-Pain, then it was Lady Gaga. First it was
“Locked Up,” then it was “Angel.” Akon can set himself apart with this album and I believe he will.
Lupe Fiasco – Lasers
This might be a couple spots higher, but I’m still not completely sure the good folks at Atlantic records will be putting this album out. Lupe created a rally outside the record label’s offices which sparked the label to announce a release date that same day, but was it just a move to silence the crowd, or do they really have intentions to put out his project? They may be moved to shelf him completely just so other artists don’t try similar in order to back labels in a corner. At the end of the day, the fans are in the middle of this war and they want Lasers! Some believe if it does hit the streets it will finally see the mainstream success Lupe just missed on his first couple of projects.
Rick Ross – God Forgives, I Don’t
Rozay is keeping himself on top of the game by releasing as much music as possible, most of which is good stuff. How he released two songs that sound exactly like each other in “BMF” and “MC Hammer” and remains relevant is a mystery to me, but that’s Hip-Hop in 2011 isn’t it. He’s started the year off with some good new music so we can expect another quality project from one of the only remaining relevant Florida artists.
Drake – Take Care
Who knows if it will be an R & B album or a Rap album, either way the world wants to know if Drake is the real deal or if it all ends in a ball this of fire. Drake has to release a new album this year, hopefully he’s saving some of those good verses for himself. According to Birdman it’s supposed to drop this Spring.
Beyonce Knowles – TBD
Its been two years since B released an album and fans are clamoring for more from one of the top females in R & B. We figure she has one more album and one more tour in her before she decides to get pregnant so look out for a good one from Mrs. Jigga Man.
Kanye West & Jay-Z – Watch My Throne
This may just be a collaboration that never gets released, but according to Kanye the two have been working on this since August of 2010. Even a 5-track album would make this one of the craziest albums to hit the streets since the Best of Both Worlds.
Lil’ Wayne – The Carter IV
Only one album could top this list and its only fitting that its the man who went platinum in a week two years ago, then top the charts when he released a rock album, and again when he released a mixtape from prison. People are hungry for more Carter and even though I personally believe the original was the best and its been downhill since, album sales have told a different story. It will be hard for him to sell a million in a week again, but it is possible, despite the lead single 6″7.
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